The European Tour travels to Hong Kong this week for the Hong Kong Open at Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling. Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez is the defending champion.

As it’s being played in the same week as the Nedbank Golf Challenge, many of the European Tour’s top players are missing from the field in Hong Kong, so it’s a chance for one of the circuit’s lesser lights to shine, or perhaps for an Asian Tour player to make a breakthrough.

This will be the 55th edition of the Hong Kong Open and it’s been part of the European Tour schedule since 2002. Since the tournament was first contested in 1959 there have been a number of notable winners including Peter Thomson, Greg Norman, Tom Watson and, more recently, Colin Montgomerie and Miguel Angel Jimenez.

Last season, Jimenez claimed the title for a third time. The veteran Spaniard finished one stroke clear of Sweden’s Fredrik Andersson Hed.

Jimenez returns to Fanling to defend his title and he’s joined on the start sheet by players such as: Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Thorbjorn Olesen and tournament invite John Daly.

The Hong Kong Golf Club was founded in 1889. The club has been host to this tournament since 1959 – one of the few professional events to have remained at the same venue for such a long period of time.

Venue: Hong Kong GC, Fanling, Hong Kong
Date: Dec 5-8
Course stats: par 70, 6,734 yards
Purse: $1,300,000
Defending Champion: Miguel Angel Jimenez (-15)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 5 – Sky Sports 4 from 5am
Friday 6 – Sky Sports 4 from 5am
Saturday 7 – Sky Sports 4 from 5am
Sunday 8 – Sky Sports 4 from 5am

Player Watch:

Rafa Cabrera Bello – He’s been on excellent form in recent weeks but hasn’t quite found that killer edge to close out a really good result. This could be his week.

Jbe Kruger – The South African was tied second in the South African Open Championship and would have secured a good result in last week’s Alfred Dunhill Championship had it not been for a disastrous third round of 81. This course should suit his game.

Richard Finch – Second to Schwartzel last week in South Africa, Finch will be looking for another good result this time out to secure his status on the European Tour for 2015.

Key hole: 18th. At 410 yards, it might not look overly imposing on the card but, with water, trees, heavy bunkering plus a famously elusive green, par here is an excellent score.

Skills required: Course management. This is a layout that demands accuracy and a strategic approach. It’s an old-school track where the ability to hit the long-ball is not a prerequisite. It’s a course that requires good shot-making and a tidy short game.

Where next?
European Tour –
Nedbank Golf Challenge preview